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Big Foot football wins big, faces major test Friday



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Big Foot senior Mason Dixon ran wild again Friday night to the tune of 188 yards. The 5-10, 200-pound combination of power and speed is a finalist for the top running back in the state. Sarah Schauf.

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October 30, 2012 | 04:48 PM
WALWORTH — Another game, another blowout victory for Big Foot.

But the fun may be over.

With Friday's 49-7 WIAA Division 4 Level 2 playoff victory over visiting Brodhead, the Big Foot football team will move on to face possibly its toughest challenge of the season.

The 10-0 Chiefs return home Friday for their third straight home playoff game, but their opponent has done a pretty good Big Foot impression of their own all season.

Big Foot will battle second-seeded Lakeside Lutheran, another 10-0 squad which knocked off Roncalli, 14-6, last week.

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Lutheran is averaging 32.6 points per game and 322.6 rushing yards per game. As soon as Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig knew his team would be playing in Division 4, he said Lutheran would provide a serious test to his team.

"Lakeside has been the top-ranked team in Division 4 all year," he said.

"It will be our toughest test so far. They are a power running team, and they can wear you down. Their defense is solid, and they don't give up big plays. It will be a big test for our offense."

Lakeside is only allowing seven points per game. Lutheran may be able to stop the big play, but the Chiefs make a living off big plays.

Senior running back Mason Dixon, who ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns Friday, has put up some staggering numbers.

He's averaging one touchdown every 3.5 carries and 14.1 yards per carry.

While Dixon and quarterback Carter Hehr (1,435 total yards, 26 total TDs) are a dynamic one-two punch for the Chiefs, the Spartans boast firepower on the ground as well.

Brennan Leis, a 5-foot-11, 174-pound senior, leads the team in rushing with 1,516 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ryan Broedlow, a 5-foot-10, 198-pound senior, complements Leis.

Broedlow has amassed 988 rushing yards and 15 scores.

One of the drawbacks to beating opponents by more than 40 points a game, enjoying running clocks and clearing the bench by the second half is the lack of a four-quarter game.

Big Foot hasn't had to scratch and claw its way to victory all season. However, none of that matters to this focused Big Foot squad.

"We're mentally tough," Wedig said of his players. "We prep for game situations. We will keep going at it and trying to be the best team in the state regardless of division. The fact that we haven't played a four-quarter game doesn't concern me. If we don't need to, it just means we're good."

Wedig said Lutheran is one of the top running teams in the state with three strong backs.

He said a key to victory will be controlling the line of scrimmage.

Big Foot owns Brodhead

Since a 2010 playoff loss to Brodhead, Big Foot has won three straight over the Cardinals by an average of 31 points per game.

Friday's win was the most lopsided. Big Foot was slow out of the gates, suffering a three-and-out on its first drive and only leading 7-0 after the first quarter. Big Foot's lone score was an explosive 85-yard run by Dixon.

But in the second quarter, Hehr busted off a 49-yard scoring run and fired a touchdown pass to Matt Ripkey, and the Chiefs were in business at 21-0. Dixon's 6-yard scoring scamper made it 28-0 by the half.

In the third quarter, Big Foot finished Brodhead with two huge scoring runs on their first two offensive touches. Dixon opened the quarter with a 48-yard touchdown run, and Brandon Hausner added a 53-yard scoring sprint at the 5:13 mark.

Early in the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Brett Morris found Steven Schauf for a six-yard touchdown pass to make it 49-0.

"Mason, Carter and the offensive line took over early on," Wedig said. "Mason is unbelievable. Teams can game plan for him, but he can still get it done without the best blocking scheme. He is our most consistent back."

Dixon is second in the state with 32 touchdowns. He ran for 188 yards Friday.

Hehr added 53 yards on the ground and was 2-for-2 passing. The efficient dual threat has completed 78 percent of his throws this season and has 13 touchdowns with one interception.

"We really have a lot of confidence in him throwing the ball," Wedig said. "He also holds for Ian Gallagher, who is 71-for-71 on extra points."

The Big Foot defense used a bend, but don't break philosophy.

"We gave up first downs, but not touchdowns," Wedig said. "We kept them out of the end zone until the fourth quarter."

Gus Wedig paced the Chiefs with 15 tackles, and Collin Frederick added two sacks. Hehr notched an interception.

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